Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

CDM Critique: Helpful, overzealous and under fire itself

Background: The Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) believes that, as an instrument of the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM is obsolete. The Paris Agreement provides for cooperative mechanisms which are designed to raise Parties’ ambition to exceed their existing emission reduction targets. As this must also be ensured in the decisions to facilitate implementation of the Agreement’s provisions, international-level negotiations and debates must be held. This does not, however, mean that CDM assessment and classification should be excluded.

Shortly after Easter 2017, a group of institutes – among them INFRAS Switzerland and Öko-Institut Berlin – published a joint study which casts a critical eye on the additionality of CDM projects. It had been commissioned by the EU Commission before the Paris Agreement was concluded and thus looked at the CDM reforms which are still under official review in the course of the climate negotiations. In its assessment of the projects and in its recommendations for reform, the study came to largely negative conclusions which far exceeded any previous criticism of the CDM

Since its publication, other stakeholders have clearly refuted the criticism contained in the study in numerous debates and talks. Many saw a risk that a further CDM debate would take attention away from the Paris Agreement’s requirements and structural possibilities. Nonetheless, given the very different standpoints put forward by a large number of stakeholders, the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) believed it necessary to have the study reviewed by a different group of experts. The pool of experts chosen presented their findings this summer to the authors, the EU Commission and members of the EU Mechanisms Group. In commissioning the review, the BMUB does not intend to spark a deeper public debate, but instead wants to provide specialists in the field with points of reference and input from third-party experts so they can better judge where the study fits in and engage in deeper academic debate.  
The Paris Agreement also allows for experience with the CDM to be taken into account. It does not provide for the continuation of the CDM in a slightly modified form. Given the broad areas covered by the CDM, we would like to point to the Climate Focus and Koru Climate Transition Initiative which, with support of Norway and Germany, began analysing the options for the CDM transition in 2016 and has since submitted them to climate change negotiators in the form of an options report.

Downloads / Links

How Additional is the Clean Development Mechanism? Study from INFRAS / Öko-Institut / SEI / Carbon Limits

Questions and Answers to the CDM Additionality Study Input from the Expert Pool

CDM Transition Initiative Publications from the Climate Focus / Koru Climate Initiative